Tara Devi Temple, Shimla: A Heritage and Spiritual Delight

President Droupadi Murmu, on her recent five-day visit to Himachal Pradesh, paid a visit to the famous Tara Devi temple and Sankat Mochan temple. Her visit to the Tara Devi temple, situated atop commanding heights overlooking Shimla, has gained a lot of attention as she has become the first president of India to partake in the langar (bhandara) at the temple. The temple, known for its rich heritage and spiritual value, is a popular tourist attraction in Shimla and attracts locals as well as a huge crowd of tourists during festive seasons. In this article, we will explore the glory of Tara Devi Temple, Shimla.

Tara Devi Temple

Tara Devi Temple, situated on the western side of Shimla, is a popular tourist attraction with a rich heritage and spiritual value. The temple is dedicated to Goddess Tara, who is known to be the source of all energies. Tara is a goddess in both Hinduism and Buddhism. She is considered to be one of the Ten Great Wisdoms, known as ‘Mahavidyas,’ .The word ‘Tara’ comes from the Sanskrit root ‘tr,’ which means to cross. It also means ‘star’ in many Indian languages.

The Tara Devi Temple is a popular tourist attraction in Shimla, known for its heritage and spiritual significance. It offers a sacred space for devotees of Goddess Tara to connect with her divine energy.The temple has an interesting mythological story behind its origin and attracts locals as well as a huge crowd of tourists during festive seasons. 

Architecture of Tara Devi Temple, Shimla


The Tara Devi Temple features a Pahari-style architectural masterpiece, rebuilt entirely as the wood used in the construction had changed its texture due to the long exposure in the air. The temple's restoration cost more than INR 6 crore to restore it to its original form. Inside the temple, the doors and the wooden structure have been carefully designed with the miniatures of Goddesses. Other than that, the temple also features heavy usage of gold and silver in a sacred place. he temple also has statues of Mahakali, Maha Sarsvati, Batuk, Bherav and Maa Bhagwati. The peacefulness in a serene environment of Shimla is another attractive part of this religious place.

History of Tara Devi Temple, Shimla


Dating its history back to 250 years, the temple has an interesting mythological story behind its origin. According to the popular belief, the idol of Goddess Tara was brought from West Bengal to Himachal Pradesh. A  King Bhupendra Sen from the Sen dynasty had once come to this area along with a small idol of his personal family deity in the form of a gold locket. While hunting in and around the dense jungle of Juggar, he forgot his path to go back home and fell asleep. While sleeping, he dreamt that Goddess Tara and her gatekeepers Lord Hanuman and Bhairav requested him to unveil them to people. The Maharaja decided to fulfil the desires of Ma Tara and donated about 50 bighas of land to construct the temple. Thus, a temple was built there with a wooden idol of the deity for people to pray and seek blessings.

After some years, King Balbir Sen of the same dynasty had a vision in which the Ma Tara wished to be on the hilltop of Tarav Parvat. Soon, the temple was shifted there, and a magnificent idol made of “Ashtadhatu” was installed in a grand ceremony in the year 1825. Since then, the members of the Sen dynasty follow the old traditions and worship their family Goddess on the Asthami day every year.

Former Congress Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, who was in office from 2012 to 2017, is known for having played an important role in the restoration work of the Tara Devi temple. The temple has been managed by the Tara Devi Trust, which is controlled by the government, since 1987. The Himachal Pradesh government oversees the management of the temple under the 'Himachal Pradesh Hindu Saarvajnik Dharmik Sanstha aur Poorav Vinyas Adhiniyam 1984.'

Fairs and Festivals at Tara Devi Temple


Tara Devi Temple hosts several festivals and fairs throughout the year, drawing large crowds of devotees and visitors. One of the most significant festivals is Navratri, which is celebrated twice a year, during the months of March-April and September-October. During this nine-day festival, devotees come from all over to worship Goddess Tara Devi and seek her blessings. The temple is decorated with lights and flowers, and religious ceremonies and cultural events take place throughout the festival.

Another festival celebrated at Tara Devi Temple is the Sharadotsav or the Autumn Festival, which takes place in October. 

A fair is also held at Tara Devi Temple during the month of May, known as the Tara Devi Fair. It is a significant event for the locals, and people from nearby villages and towns attend it. The fair features stalls selling handicrafts, clothes, and other items, and various cultural and entertainment events are also organized.

Overall, these festivals and fairs add to the religious and cultural significance of Tara Devi Temple and attract a large number of visitors every year.

The Tara Devi Temple is a popular tourist attraction in Shimla, known for its heritage and spiritual value. The temple's architecture, history, and peaceful environment make it a must-visit place for anyone visiting Shimla. The temple's fairs and festivals add to its grandeur, attracting a large number of devotees and visitors.

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